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The real reason why American prescription drugs are significantly more expensive than in other countries

Big Pharma

(NaturalNews) It's a question that has been on the minds of tens of millions of Americans who are still having difficulty affording their healthcare, even after the "Affordable Care Act" was passed: Why are costs – particularly drug costs – continuing to rise?

The reason why overall out-of-pocket spending for doctors' visits and insurance premiums and deductibles is climbing, is because the massive law that is Obamacare is stuffed with hundreds of intricate rules and regulations that have dramatically increased expenses for insurers and patient care professionals.

Why the prices of drugs are continuing to rise, however, is a different story.

A letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Edith Ramirez, head of the Federal Trade Commission, by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ask both officials to investigate whether there is illegal collusion going on between makers of insulin.

Natural Blaze notes that the lawmakers are questioning why, though the original insulin patent expired nearly 75 years ago, three Big Pharma companies who make different versions of the hormone have continuously raised their prices.

'Anti-competitive activity' identified by lawmakers?

In "numerous instances," the letter states, "price increases have reportedly mirrored one another precisely."

Citing questions and concerns over steadily rising insulin prices and their enduring impact on federal spending, both lawmakers accused the three companies of taking part in "anti-competitive" activity, and are urging the Justice Department to investigate.

Companies that are accused of colluding, the lawmakers said, include Eli Lilly, Merck & Co. and Sanofi.

Sanders believes that the companies getting together to collectively ensure that insulin prices remain elevated across the board, in part explains the increasing prices. However, a recently published study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (here) found that the high cost of prescription drugs could also be caused by government-granted monopolies.

Researchers, according to the paper's findings, found that Big Pharma firms are permitted to set high drug prices because of market exclusivity, which is "protected by monopoly rights awarded upon Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approval and by patents." This conclusion coincides with others made by Austrian economists, who argue often that the FDA causes "death and suffering" when it serves as a gatekeeper to prevent other drugs from coming to market, thanks to massive regulations.

In the U.S., individuals spend far more on prescription drugs than do people in other industrialized countries. For instance, the JAMA study noted that in 2013, "per capita spending on prescription drugs was $858," which was much higher for American consumers than for those in 19 other first-world nations. In the latter 19 countries, the average annual expenditure for prescription meds was about $400.

Ron Paul: 'Companies use the government to help eliminate competition'

With prices for prescription drugs rising more than 10 percent in 2015 – something that the Democrats who passed Obamacare on the promise that drug and out-of-pocket costs would fall were never held accountable for by the media – it's obvious that things are not getting better for Americans.

Recently, former GOP presidential contender and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is also an obstetric physician, wrote that "Monopolies and cartels are creations of government, not markets." If the study published in JAMA on the rising costs of prescription drugs came to the right conclusions, then Paul's explanation appears to be spot-on.

Paul noted that government regulations and taxes serve as an effective means of "limiting competition in an industry." When major corporations like the three Big Pharma firms making and allegedly colluding on pricing want to eliminate competition, Paul says, they go to agencies like the FDA.

Sanders and Cummings also noted that the three companies spent millions of dollars on lobbying efforts in 2016 alone.





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